At only $12,190 Honda’s VT750D Shadow offers people another very affordable motorcycle in the increasingly popular mid-size cruiser segment of the market.
Power is provided by way of the normal cruiser powerplant layout, a V-Twin. While it is not strong enough to leave big black lines from the traffic lights like it’s 1,800cc big brother the VT750 offers reasonable enough performance from a cruiser. Around town the low end and mid range torque is quite adequate while out on the open road it is best to keep the machine revving. While the national 110kph limit is reached reasonably quickly, speeds above that take a little longer. It would be nice to have a little more power for overtaking but the bike will do over 140kph if pushed.
Cold starting is a breeze with a push/pull choke knob nestled down between the two 36mm CV carbs.
A lot of cruisers have horribly agricultural gearboxes, but the little Shadow shifts gears smoothly and effortlessly via the forward controls. The clutch is also light with a good amount of travel and feel which aids smooth getaways and seamless gearshifts.
Braking performance from the single 296mm disc up front is very good, however the rear should be better. This would probably be my main performance gripe with the machine, as I believe all cruisers should have a very good rear brake. That said, some riders don’t really seem to use the rear brake at all so it will not be an issue for some. It is a good job that the front brake is up to the task.
The seat is designed to have the rider sitting low and ‘in’ the machine. While it does this by way of a very low 676mm seat height my butt would prefer a little more padding to cosset it on any extended journey. The tank is low and wide with the rider’s legs being spread out around it to the forward controls. I must admit this took some getting accustomed to, around town and for short runs this is great, but out on extended highway jaunts it can become a little tiresome. Again, this is a trait that all cruisers exhibit to some degree.
I covered over 900 kilometres during one of my days on the bike and while I could still function at the other end, my posterior was a little worse for wear, as were my thigh muscles. But cruisers never seem to be designed with touring potential as a serious consideration.
A pillion does have a small perch but it could never be described as comfortable. However that pillion seat can have a bag strapped to it via the well thought out chrome luggage hooks fixed to the seat base. These came in very handy during my time with the bike.
The reach to the straight bars is quite reasonable. Bar width is not too over the top and fits the machine quite well.
Handling performance is quite impressive. In very slow and tight corners you will be touching a few things down on the undercarriage but generally the ground clearance is quite generous for this class. The front end behaved very well, as did the rear. Hard hits over bumps can give you a bit of a kidney punch but generally the ride is taut and composed.
A 200 + kilometre touring range can be had from the 14 litre fuel tank. There is no fuel light or gauge, just the old fashioned reserve switch which you turn after the machine starts spluttering to indicate to you that the main tank is dry and it wants to suck from the 3.4 litre reserve cell. The reserve switch is tucked well away at the back of the fuel tank and is a little cumbersome to operate while on the move.
Instrumentation is simple and clean, a large centrally located speedo with an LCD insert for the odometer and tripmeter.
Pearl Blue is the colour of the very cleanly styled machine and it would definitely have to be one of the best looking cruisers on the market. Around town the machine is an absolute hoot and I must admit to becoming somewhat attached to this little cruiser during my time aboard.
What was interesting was the attitude of other riders. I overtook many sportsbikes in tighter turns, only for them to take this as somewhat of an insult to their manhood, so they would have to mono back past on the straight. Only for the little VT to spark past them again in the tight stuff. Very funny, and worth riding it just for the pleasure of doing exactly that. Sportsbike riders sometimes complain of the attitude of the Harley set but during my time with the VT I also found plenty of arrogance amongst some sportsbike riders also.
Honda VT750DC2 Shadow Specifications
Engine Type: 745cc liquid-cooled 52-degree V-twin
Bore x Stroke: 79.0×76.0
Compression Ratio: 9.0:1
Induction: Two x 36mm CV
Ignition: Solid-state with electronic advance, two spark plugs per cylinder
Transmission: Wide-ratio five-speed
Final Drive: O-ring-sealed chain
Wheel Base (mm): 1646
Seat Height (mm): 676
Fuel Capacity (litres): 14 litres (including 3.4l reserve)
Front Tyre: 110/80-19
Rear Tyre: 160/80-15
Front Suspension: 41mm fork; 129.54mm travel
Rear Suspension: Dual shocks with five-position spring-preload
adjustability; 88.90mm travel
Front Brake: Single 296mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear Brake: Drum
Dry Weight (kg): 225
RRP: $12,190.00 + ORC